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This is the searchable online international food dictionary with 61,500 terms in 302 languages plus 12,690 plurals.

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Plural: Tepines

Language: Spanish

Description: The Tepin chilli, also called Chiltepin, is the original wild chilli - the plant from which all others have evolved. It is a tiny round berry slightly larger than a peppercorn. It is very decorative and bright scarlet in colour and, despite its high heat level, it is attractive to wild birds, who helped to distribute it across the prehistoric Americas. Birds do not have the same sensitivity to capsaicin as mammals as capsaicin acts on a specific nerve receptor in mammals and avian nervous systems are rather different. Chilli peppers are in fact a favorite food of many birds living in the chilli peppers' natural range. The flesh of the peppers provides the birds with nutritious meal rich in vitamin C. In return, the seeds of the peppers are distributed by the birds, as they drop the seeds while eating the pods or the seeds pass through the digestive tract unharmed. This relationship is theorized to have promoted the evolution of the protective capsaicin. It is interesting to note that the chemical used to give an artificial grape flavoring to food items such as grape soda does have a similar effect on birds as capsaicin has on humans. Heat level = 8.

Dried Tepin chiles, with many thanks to the lovely Conscious Cookery of Orange Avenue in San Diego

Latin: Capsicum annuum
Ethnicity: Latin American
Most frequent country: Latin America
Also known as: Chile Mosquito, Chile de Pajaro, Chile Silvestre, Tecpintle

See places: Mexican food and cuisine

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Database last updated: 21 June 2011 12:23